Shepherd School Season Four (PAST/FUTURE)
training men to shepherd in the home, group, and church
WHY SHEPHERD SCHOOL? 2 Timothy 2 1-6
August 29, 2022 • Brett Baggett • 2 Timothy 2:1–6
Big idea: Why are we doing Shepherd School? I. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would be strengthened by grace (v. 1) II. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would be taught the truth (v. 2a) III. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would be equipped to teach others (v. 2b) IV. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would be a good soldier of Jesus Christ (v. 3) V. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would please your King (v. 4) VI. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would live your life according to the the rules and so be rewarded (v. 5) VII. We are doing Shepherd School so that you would exhaust yourselves in planting and watering, and therefore most enjoy the fruit that God grows (v. 6)
THE COVENANT OF GRACE PREACHED TO ADAM: Genesis 3:15
September 5, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Genesis 3:15
DOCTRINE: The promise in Genesis 3:15 reveals the mercy of God, the object of the Church’s faith from Adam to Abraham, the gospel in seed form, and Christ’s ultimate victory over Satan. I. THE PROMISE IN GENESIS 3:15 REVEALS THE MERCY OF GOD; AS SOON AS MANKIND FELL INTO SIN, THE LORD STARTED PREACHING THE GOSPEL. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring (seed) and her offspring (seed); he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). Years later, Habakkuk’s prayer would be, “In wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2). The LORD did here in the garden. Matthew Henry said, “Here was the dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed.” See the loving-kindness of the Lord toward his people! When we deserve the hammer of the Law, He brings the pillow of the Gospel. When we beg for the judgement of Divine Justice by our sin, He gives us the medicine of Divine Gospel. I) Use this truth to guide you concerning how to respond when others sin. Remember Genesis 3:15 when your kids sin. Say to them, “You need a Savior and you have one!” Remember Genesis 3:15 when your wife sins. Say to her, “Look at the Lord in Genesis 3:15 responding to Eve eating the forbidden fruit.” Remember Genesis 3:15 when your neighbor sins, especially against you. Say to them, “Look at the Lord responding to Adam who plunged the world into misery by his sin.” II) Use this truth to guide you concerning how to respond when you sin. Say to yourself, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15). II. THE PROMISE IN GENESIS 3:15 REVEALS THE OBJECT OF THE CHURCH’S FAITH FROM ADAM TO ABRAHAM (Genesis 3:15). God has never left His people, in any age, without the gospel of Jesus Christ! Thomas Manton preached, “The words are dark in comparison of the larger explications of the grace of God by Jesus Christ which were after delivered to the church. Who would look for a great tree in a little seed? Yet the seminal virtue doth afterward diffuse and dilate itself into all those stately and lofty branches in which the fowls of the air do take up their lodging and shelter. So do these few words contain all the articles and mysteries of the christian faith, which are the fountains of our solid peace and consolation. In the seed of the woman is contained all the doctrine concerning the incarnation of the Son of God ; in the bruising of his heel, his death and sufferings ; in the crushing of the serpent's head, his glorious victory and conquest. As obscure as the words are, an eagle-eyed and discerning faith could pick a great deal of comfort out of them. ‘The elders,' mentioned Heb. 11:2, the antediluvian fathers, so famous throughout all ages for their faith and confidence in God, had no other gospel to live upon. Abel, that offered a better sacrifice than Cain; Enoch, that walked with God; Noah, that prepared the ark, did all that they did in the strength and upon the encouragement of this promise.” III. THE PROMISE OF GENESIS 3:15 REVEALS THE GOSPEL IN SEED FORM (Genesis 3:15). Ezekiel Hopkins wrote, “That primitive promise (Gen. 3:15), that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, which lay for many ages under types and figures, at the birth of Christ broke forth into accomplishment. All those prophecies, all those ceremonial resemblances, which, containing a Saviour in embryo, were in due time matured by the Holy Ghost, until the truth of God gave them all their expected issue in Christ's birth.” I) Genesis 3:15 reveals the seed form of the incarnation of Christ to redeem fallen man as our representative. The seed is “her offspring,” not his; not Adam’s. Christ took upon himself our nature, to redeem us as our perfect covenant head! “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Heb. 2:14-15). II) Genesis 3:15 reveals the seed form of the redemption of Christ purchased by his death. The serpent is told, “you shall bruise his heel.” This is the seed form of the message of Christ crucified. III) Genesis 3:15 reveals the conquest of Christ crushing the head of the serpent, Satan by resurrection, ascension, return. The serpent is told that the seed of the woman “shall bruise your head.” This is the embryo of that promise which says, “He shall reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:26) and “the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). IV. THE PROMISE OF GENESIS 3:15 REVEALS CHRIST’S ULTIMATE VICTORY OVER SATAN, HIS CONFEDERATES, AND THE WICKEDNESS THAT SPRINGS FROM THEIR SCHEMES (Genesis 3:15). That the serpent is Satan himself is evident from when John calls him “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Furthermore, that those who are not united to Christ by faith are Satan’s confederates or “seed” is evident from John 8:44 and Acts 13:10. “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires” (John 8:44). Paul says to Elymas, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10). But now our focus will primarily be on Christ’s crushing or bruising the head of Satan. I love what Matthew Henry said concerning Christ’s bruising the serpents head: “Christ baffled Satan's temptations, rescued souls out of his hands, cast him out of the bodies of people, dispossessed the strong man armed, and divided his spoil: by his death, he gave a fatal and incurable blow to the devil's kingdom, a wound to the head of this beast, that can never be healed. As his gospel gets ground, Satan falls (Luke 10:18) and is bound (Rev. 20:2). By his grace, he treads Satan under his people's feet (Rom. 16:20) and will shortly cast him into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). And the devil's perpetual overthrow will be the complete and everlasting joy and glory of the chosen remnant.” Now consider Christ’s serpent-crushing work in these particular points: I) Satan is an Oppressor, so Christ came to crush his head by healing His people from demonic oppression. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). ‘Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). II) Satan is a Liar and Deceiver, so Christ came to crush his head by being the Truth (John 8:44c; Rev. 12:9). “[Satan] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44c). “The deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Just as there is no truth in Satan, so there are no lies in Christ. He is full of truth! “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). III) Satan is a Captor, so Christ came to crush his head by binding him and plundering his house. (i) Those who are still enemies of God are in the snare of the devil, being captured by him to do his will. “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:25-26). (ii) Christ came into the world to establish the Kingdom of God by binding Satan and plundering his house. “If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil” (Luke 11:20-22). “But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house” (Mark 3:27). (iii) Christ destroys the kingdom of Satan and advances the Kingdom of grace through the preaching of the gospel, as is exemplified in the sending out of the seventy-two. “The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you’” (Luke 10:17-19). IV) Satan is a Tempter, so Christ came to crush his head by breaking the power of sin over His people and providing them a way of escape when tempted. “And the tempter came and said to [Christ],” etc (Matt. 4:3). (i) Christ sets his people free from slavery to sin. “Having been set free from sin, [you] have become slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:18). (ii) God always gives a way of escape when believers are tempted. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13). (iii) One of the works Christ came into the world to destroy was the habitual practice of sinning now. “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). (iv) In believers’ glorification Christ will destroy even the possibility of sinning, and that truth spurs us on to live holy lives even now. “When [Christ] appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). V) Satan is a Devourer, so Christ came to crush his head by being a tender hearted Advocate who binds up the broken hearted. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). (I) Satan loves to sift people like wheat, by tempting them to despair after they have sinned. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). Can Satan succeed in sifting when Christ is engaged in praying? Can your faith fail while Christ intercedes for you? (II) Christ loves to bind up the broken hearted, never crushing the bruised reed or quenching the smoking flax. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted” (Isaiah 61:1). “A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice” (Is. 42:3). VI) Satan is an Accuser, so Christ came to crush his head by dying and rising in order to intercede for His people. “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him” (Zech. 3:1). “Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:33-34). VII) Satan is a Murderer, so Christ came to crush his head by giving life and life abundant. “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Christ came to give us life by giving up his life in our place! “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Now, Christ will finally and totally crush the head of the serpent one day, when Revelation 20:9-10 comes to pass: “And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” EXHORATION I) You and have to resist Satan by humble dependance on God (James 4:6-7).“‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” II) You and I must stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” III) You and I must be sober-minded and watchful because Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” CONCLUSION: As we wage spiritual war, you and I need to remember and rest in Romans 16:20: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
CHRIST THE SURETY: Hebrews 6:13-20
September 26, 2022 • Nate Yarbrough • Hebrews 6:13–20
HEBREWS 6:13-20 "For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."
OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS: Romans 3:21-26
October 3, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Romans 3:21–26
DOCTRINE. Old Testament believers had the gospel preached to them in the Law and the Prophets; they knew they were sinners in themselves with no hope but God’s promised Savior; they were justified by the grace of God in Christ; and they were forgiven by means of the propitiation of Christ. I. OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS HAD THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH PREACHED TO THEM IN THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS, BUT THE FULL MANIFESTATION OF IT IS REVEALED IN CHRIST (Romans 3:21-22a). “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” Matthew Henry commented, “Yet it witness by the Law and the Prophets; that is, there were types, and prophecies, and promises, in the Old Testament, that pointed at this. The law is so far from justifying us that is directions to another way of justification, points at Christ as our righteousness, to whom bear all the prophets witness.” II. OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS KNEW THEY WERE SINNERS IN THEMSELVES, UNABLE TO BE RECONCILED TO GOD BY THEIR WORKS (Romans 3:22b-23). “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In Romans 3:10-19, where Paul draws out the truth of total depravity from various Old Testament passages. Old Testament believers knew they were sinners in need of sovereign grace. III. OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS WERE JUSTIFIED BY GOD’S GRACE AS A GIFT, AS THEY LOOKED TO CHRIST IN FAITH, AND THE PROPITIATION BY HIS BLOOD, THROUGH THE SHADOWS; NEW TESTAMENT BELIEVERS ARE JUSTIFIED BY GOD’S GRACE AS A GIFT, AS WE LOOK TO CHRIST IN FAITH, AND THE PROPITIATION BY HIS BLOOD, AT THE BODY (Romans 3:24-25a). “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” Matthew Henry wrote, “Jesus is all in all in our reconciliation, not only the maker, but the matter of it—our priest, our sacrifice, our altar, our all. God was in Christ as in his mercy-seat, reconciling the world to himself.” IV. OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS WERE FORGIVEN OF THEIR SINS BECAUSE OF WHAT CHRIST WOULD DO; NEW TESTAMENT BELIEVERS ARE FORGIVEN BECAUSE OF WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE (Romans 3:25b). “This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” CONCLUDING QUESTIONS. Do you see the righteousness of God through faith born witness to in the Law and the Prophets? Do you see the righteousness of God perfectly manifested in Jesus Christ? Do you see that there is no distinction; that you have sinned and fall short of the glory of God? Do you see justification by God’s grace given to the Old Testament believers, as they looked through the shadows to Christ (Lev. 16)? Do you see the substance, the very body, Christ Jesus Himself who cast the shadows, who made propitiation for a sinner like you? Did he make propitiation by his blood for you? Then what grace God has given you, and will never take it away! Do you see God’s manifest righteousness, having forgiven Old Testament believers by what would happen to Christ, and New Testament believers because of what has happened to Christ? Oh that we would sit at the feet of Christ’s cross and wonder at this glorious gospel. God has made a way to be both just and the justifier. He can receive you into His love without compromising His justice. This is glory that you can never exhaust. These are things into which the angels long to look. Look! Look at Christ! Cling to Christ! Celebrate Christ! Preach Christ! Glory in Christ!
LEARNING FROM OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS AND LOOKING TO CHRIST: Hebrews 11:1–12:2
October 10, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Hebrews 11—12
Having made many discoveries and clarifications concerning how God saved His people during the times of the Old Testament, I think we should now do what the apostle to the Hebrews does once he had done the same. In Chapters 11 and 12 of Hebrews, the apostle holds up before his readers’ eyes some great examples of Old Testament believers who lived by faith, and then he directs our gaze firmly toward Christ. He does both of these things in Hebrews chapter’s 11 and 12 in order to exhort us to patiently run the race of the life of faith for God’s glory and our good. DOCTRINE. Believers should learn from Old Testament saints, and they must look to Christ in faith, in order to run the race of the life of faith with patient endurance. I. YOU AND I SHOULD LEARN FROM OLD TESTAMENT BELIEVERS SO THAT WE MAY PATIENTLY RUN THE RACE OF THE LIFE OF FAITH (Hebrews 11:1–12:1). John Owen helpfully clarifies the meaning of faith as it is used in Chapter 11, when he writes, “The nature of justifying faith…is not here at all spoken unto. For the apostle treats not in this place of justification, or of faith as justifying, or of its interest in justification; but of its efficacy and operation in them that are justified, with respect unto constancy and perseverance in their profession, notwithstanding the difficulties which they have to conflict withal. . . . Faith can do all things that belong unto the life of God; and without it nothing can be done. Spiritual life is by faith (Gal. 2:20); victory is by faith (1 John 5:4); perseverance is by faith (1 Pet. 1:5); salvation is by faith (Eph. 2:8, 1 Pet. 1:9): and so they were from the beginning.” Read Chapter 11 in Hebrews before examining the specific exhortations of Hebrews 12:1-2. Here is the bridge between Chapter’s 11 and 12. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1a). “We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,” either as witnessing our lives, as the crowds would do as athletes competed in the great games, or as bearing witness to us what lives of faith look like, or both. I think it is the latter. We have these examples before our eyes to spur us on to live lives of faith here and now. Yet both views are permissible. Now Chapter 12 gives the application concerning the instruction we received in Chapter 11. John Owen rightfully remarks, “Chapter 12 contains an application of the doctrine, declared and confirmed in the foregoing chapter, unto the use of the Hebrews. Doctrine and use were the apostle's method; and must, at least virtually, be theirs also who regard either sense, or reason, or experience, in their preaching. It would be an uncouth sermon (a sermon lacking good manners) that should be without doctrine and use.” Amen and amen. Would that more pastors today would learn and commit to uses (application) in their preaching. Without application, we make fat brains, weak hearts, and feeble hands. I) Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let each one of us lay aside everything that keeps us from total devotion to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1b). “let us also lay aside every weight.” Calvin clarified, “There are various burdens which delay and impede our spiritual course, such as the love of this present life, the pleasures of the world, the lusts of the flesh, worldly cares, riches also and honors, and other things of this kind.” He is right. Like foolish hikers who load their backpacks with heavy trinkets and complain that the path is hard, are Christians who weigh themselves down with worldly loves and grumble that the Christian life is just too difficult. What are you clinging to that is truly hindering you from living a life of faith for Christ’s glory and your good? Oh how many professed Christians are weighed down by habits or luxuries or commitments or entertainments that keep them from being faithful and fruitful. These weights keep you from glorifying and enjoying God. Dear brothers, do not waste your life weighed down by honorable distractions; make the best use of the time, for the days are evil. Let us also lay aside every weight and take heaven by storm (Matthew 11:12). II) Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let each one of us be killing sin or sin will be encircling us (Hebrews 12:1c). “and sin which clings so closely.” Sin is an enemy so clever that you will be outflanked before you even know what is happening. Sin, like Jael in the book of Judges, provides a nice place for you to lie still, then drives a tent peg through your head when your guard is down. If you do not make it your daily business to put to death your sin and temptations then you are sitting down in the trenches of battle, allowing the enemy to surround you. You may be so weak and immature simply because you do not fight. What sin clings so closely to you? What besetting sins or lazy habits or time-wasting commitments are in fact allowing you to be encircled by sin? Beloved brothers, stand up in the trenches, cast down any weight, cut the throat of sin every day; fire back at the enemy with the Word of God, prayer, meditation, singing, making the best use of the time, self-examination, and serving!Paul urges Timothy, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on your doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:16). III) Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let each one us patiently run the race that God has set before us (Hebrews 12:1d). “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The race has been set before us! God determines where and how you run. Through His prophet, the Lord says in Amos 6:1 “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion.” You must not be a spiritual spectator; you must be a spiritual athlete. You are not in the stands or on the couch; you are in the game. Are you seated in the coliseum, watching the other athletes, perhaps even cheering them on? Or are you running the race that God has clearly revealed in the Scriptures that He created and redeemed you to run? “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ). The Christian life is not a sprint that will be over in a few minutes. The Christian life is not a relay that someone else can complete for you. The Christian life is a marathon. You and I have need of patient endurance, and our triune God is the only source of strength. Now, how are you and I going to get the strength to patiently endure to the end? II. YOU AND I MUST CONTINUALLY LOOK TO JESUS IN FAITH SO THAT WE MAY PATIENTLY RUN THE RACE OF THE LIFE OF FAITH (Hebrews 12:2). I) You and I must continually look to Jesus in faith for both salvation and strength (Hebrews 12:2a). “looking to Jesus.” John Owen comments, “The Old Testament believers’ faith is only proposed unto us for our imitation; but Jesus’ person is proposed unto us as a ground also of hope and expectation.” Apart from Jesus you can do nothing, yet all things good you can do in Christ who infuses you with strength (Phil. 4:13; John 15:5). Christ must be the North star your eyes are fixed on; He is true North. If you will not look at Jesus, you will walk in darkness. You and I can learn from other believers, but we must lean on Christ alone! To what or to whom are you looking? On what or on whom are you leaning? There is no salvation nor is there strength in yourself. There is no salvation nor is their strength in any of our Old Testament brothers and sisters. Oh but there is an endless supply of salvation and strength in Christ Jesus, in whom all the fullness of God dwells! II) You and I must continually look to Jesus in faith because He is the Founder and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2b). “the founder and perfecter of our faith.”The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the founder of your faith, buying you back from sin and death by His death and resurrection for your justification (Rom. 4:25); He is not only the founder of your faith, effectually working the grace of faith in you by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:8); He is also the finisher, guarding you by faith for a salvation ready to be revealed the last time (1 Pet. 1:5); He is the finisher, preserving you by His Spirit all the way to your glorification (Rom. 8:29-30). Jesus does not lay the foundation of the house then subcontract the rest of the work out, hoping it will be finished. He is the foundation, He builds the house, He makes His home there, He protects his dwelling. What an assurance producing joy it is to know Jesus is the founder AND finisher of our faith! Oh look at the glorious Jesus who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, not only of the entire universe but also of each particular saint He redeems. Consider Philippians 1:6: “He who began a good work in you (FOUNDER) will bring it to completion (FINISHER).” Are you looking to Jesus in faith, trusting Him as Founder? Are you continually looking to Jesus in faith, trusting Him as Finisher? Weary brother, Christ has paid too high a price in founding your salvation to let you slip through His fingers and remain unfinished. III) You and I must continually look to Jesus in faith, who patiently endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2c). “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” What was the joy? To glorify His Father by redeeming His saints. Therefore, what makes Jesus happy? Forgiving you of your sin and making you part of His family, at great cost to Himself, thereby magnifying the glory of God. Now, the apostle sets this before the eyes of faith not only to incite our love and praise to Jesus, but also to encourage us by Christ’s example. He sets before us Christ’s patient endurance for the joy that was set before Him so that we may learn from our Founder and Finisher how to patiently endure the grueling race of the life of faith that is set before us. John Owen again comments, “The Lord Jesus is not proposed here unto us as a mere example to be considered of by us; but as him also in whom we place our faith, trust, and confidence, with all our expectation of success in our Christian course. Without this faith and trust in him, we shall have no benefit or advantage by his example.” You and I must look to Christ in faith both as Savior and as Example, never leaving one out of the mix, and never getting the order wrong. IV) You and I must continually look to Jesus in faith, who endured the shame He despises for even you (Hebrews 12:2d). “despising the shame.” Does it make you sick to your stomach to feel the shame that comes from sin? Do you hate the shame that comes from your sin against God? Jesus hates it more. Yet He endured the shame, even your shame, believer, on the cross, for the joy that was set before Him! Think about the Lord Jesus Christ having nails driven through His hands and feet, suspended on the wood of the cross, suffocating to death as He hung there naked and exposed. Does it make your stomach turn thinking how shameful and embarrassing that must have been, and how He must have felt bearing our sin? It made Jesus’ stomach turn more. He was the one naked. He was the one mocked. He was the one pierced. He was the one cursed by being hung on a tree. He was the one crushed for our iniquities. Yet He endured the shame of the cross, for the joy that was set before Him. Beloved brothers, if you continually look to Jesus in faith, who endured the shame He despised for your sake, you will be able to endure any shameful treatment that comes upon you on account of His name. Now look at the end of verse 2, where the Apostle gets our eyes not only up to Jesus but to where Jesus is seated in glory. V) You and I must continually look to Jesus in faith, remembering that He speaks from heaven as Prophet; He pleads His wounds as Priest; and He holds the scepter as King (Hebrews 12:2e). “and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” This is where the race ends for us. In glory. Reigning with Christ forever. All hail the power of Jesus’ name.
A COMPARISON OF THE FOUR MAJOR ESCHATOLOGICAL VIEWS: Postmillennialism, Amillennialism, Premillennia
October 17, 2022 • Brett Baggett
What is Eschatology? Eschatology is the study of the last things. By last things we mean the rapture of the Church, the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the glorification of believers’ bodies, the judgement, heaven, hell, the new heavens and new earth, the eternal state of everyone who has ever lived, etc. There has been much agreement by all Christians in all ages concerning eschatology, but there are differing views concerning some of the particulars. The most disagreed upon particulars of eschatology are the timing of second coming of Christ, as well as the thousand year reign of the saints with Christ that is mentioned in Revelation 20. We are not going to evaluate all of the agreed upon points of doctrine concerning eschatology, but rather the disagreed upon points. Therefore let me say this at the outset: please do not lose sight of the agreement that Christians have as we evaluate the disagreements. Jesus will return; unrepentant sinners will be damned for eternity in hell; saints will be glorified and live forever with Jesus and like Jesus, enjoying the beauties of God’s excellencies for all eternity in supreme holiness and happiness. On these points all true believers agree. I. THE FOUR MAJOR VIEWS. The four major eschatological views are known as Dispensational Premillennialism, Historic Premillennialism, Amillennialism, and Postmillennialism. These are so named based on when they think the second-coming of Christ will happen. Will the second coming happen after the millennium? or before the millennium? or is the thousand year reign figurative rather than literal? II. THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. Every Christian believes Christ will come again. This is a core tenet of the faith. The apostle to the Hebrews says, “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb. 9:28). He will return to judge the living and the dead, and to save those who eagerly wait for Him. Dispensational Premillennialists, as well as Historic Premillennialists, believe the second coming will happen before a literal millennium. Amillennialists and Postmillennialists believe the second coming of Christ will happen after the millennium, though some think the thousand years is literal and some metaphorical. III. THE RAPTURE. You cannot believe the Bible without believing in the rapture of the church. The question is not “if” the rapture is real or made up, but “what” is meant by God through Paul. The main text for the doctrine of the rapture is found in Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The words “caught up” is where we get the word “rapture.” It is in the Bible. We have to deal with it, not just dismiss it because of bad interpretations. I) Some believe there will be a Rapture of the Church before a literal 7 year period known as the Great Tribulation (Pre-trib Rapture), followed by a literal 1,000 year reign with Christ physically on earth. Dispensationalists believe this. II) Others believe there will be a Rapture of the Church after a literal 7 year period known as the Great Tribulation (Post-trib Rapture), followed by a literal 1,000 year reign with Christ physically on earth. Historic Premillennialists believe this. Some also believe there is a Rapture Mid-Trib. III) Still others believe that this Rapture spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4 is about believers being caught up with Him in the clouds so that, like a royal procession with Christ returning to judge, we get to all, both living and dead, come with Him to the earth. Amillennialists and Postmillennialists believe this. The ESV Study Bible is worth quoting at length here: “The Greek term apantēsis (translated “to meet”) is often used of an important dignitary’s reception by the inhabitants of a city, who come out to greet and welcome their honored guest with fanfare and celebration, then accompany him into the city (cf. Matt. 25:6; Acts 18:15; a related [Greek] term hypantēsis is used in Matt. 25:1; John 12:13). It may indicate that the subsequent movement of the saints after meeting Christ “in the air” conforms to Christ’s direction, thus in a downward motion toward the earth“ (The ESV Study Bible notes on 1 Thessalonians 4, Crossway). IV. THE GREAT TRIBULATION. “I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14). “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Matthew 24:21). I) Dispensational Premillennialists believe the great tribulation will happen after the church is raptured. II) Historic Premillennialists believe the great tribulation will happen before the church is raptured. III) Most Amillennialists believe the great tribulation either already happened or it is a symbol of the continual suffering of the church in this age. IV) Most Postmillennialists believe the great tribulation already happened, pre 70 A.D. and had to do with Christ using Rome to destroy the Temple and raze the city of Jerusalem. V. ANTI-CHRIST / BEAST / MAN OF LAWLESSNESS. As far as the word antichrist is concerned, the apostle John uses the word antichrist four times in 1 and 2 John. I) Some believe the Beast of the Revelation and the Man of Lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2 is a future figure who will arise (he is named Nicolai Carpathia in the Left Behind series). See 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. II) Others believe the Beast of the Revelation and the Man of Lawlessness is the Roman Emperor Nero in the First Century. See Revelation 13:18. III) Still others believe the Beast of the Revelation is the Roman Emperor Nero, but the Man of Lawlessness may be Satan or a tool of Satan in Revelation 20:7. See Revelation 20:7-10. VI. THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. The book of the Revelation opens like this: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:1-3). There are basically four views concerning the Revelation made to John while he was on the island of Patmos. I) Some have a Futurist view of the Revelation. Futurists believe most events in the Revelation have not yet happened but will happen in the future. Premillennial Dispensationalists and some Historic Premillennialists. II) Some have a Historicist view of the Revelation. Historicists believe the Revelation is gradually fulfilled in history from the time of John and until the 2nd coming of Christ. Some Historic Premillennialists, some Amillennialists, and some Postmillennialists. III) Some have an Idealist view of the Revelation. Idealists believe the events in the Revelation are not tied to specific historical events, but represent by symbolism the constant struggle between good and evil. Some Amillennialists, and some Postmillennialists. IV) Some have a Preterist view of the Revelation Full Preterists believe the events in the Revelation have already taken place. Few Amillennialists, and few Postmillennialists. V) Some have a Partial-Preterist view of the Revelation. Partial Preterists believe most of the events in the Revelation have already taken place, primarily with the exception of the second half of Revelation 20 through Revelation 22. Some Amillennialists, and most Postmillennialists. VII. THE OLIVET DISCOURSE. I) Futurism. Olivet Discourse Futurists believe the whole of what Christ promises in the Olivet Discourse is has to take place. II) Futurism with Double Intention. Olivet Discourse Futurists who believe there is double-intention in Christ’s teaching believe some of the promises were partly fulfilled in the first century (A.D. 70), but the main fulfillment has yet to take place. III) Preterism. Olivet Discourse Preterists believe that the whole of what Christ promises in the Olivet Discourse took place in the first century with the destruction of Jerusalem. IV) Partial-Preterism. Olivet Discourse Partial-Preterists believe that the first half of the discourse was fulfilled in the first century (A.D. 70), but in the second half Christ is talking about His second coming, with the switch happening at Matthew 24:36. It is worth noting that Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record versions of the Olivet Discourse. John does not in his gospel account. Why not? This may be because the Olivet Discourse is about the Destruction of the Temple and the 2nd Coming of Christ, which is what the Revelation is also about. Therefore John did write about the destruction of Israel and the second coming, he just did it in much larger fashion, through the last book of our Bible. VIII. HISTORICAL OUTLOOK. Dispensational Premillennialism and Historical Premillennial are both historically pessimistic in the sense that they believe society will get worse and worse until the second coming of Christ. Amillennialism is historically neutralistic, with some leaning more pessimistic and others optimistic. Postmillennialism is historically optimistic in the sense that they believe the great commission will be fulfilled; that Christ will eventually conquer the nations by His Spirit, through His Church, with His gospel. IX. FIGURES IN CHURCH HISTORY. Who is on team Dispensational? No one who is truly a Dispensationalists is worth listening to. Traditional Dispensationalism must be rejected because it sees multiple different ways God saves sinners throughout history, among other things that are simply quite bonkers. However, such faithful men as John MacArthur and Steven Lawson would hold a modified version of Premillennial Dispensationalism, but it is much closer to Historic Premillennialism. MacArthur himself calls it, “Leaky Dispensationalism.” These men are worth listening to and are faithful brothers in Christ, though I think they are wrong about some of these points of Eschatology. Who is on team Premil? Many of the church fathers, John Gill, Charles Spurgeon (maybe), Francis Schaeffer, John Piper, Albert Mohler. Who is on team Amil? Augustine, John Calvin (maybe), A.W. Pink, J.I. Packer, Kim Riddlebarger, Voddie Baucham, and a majority of Confessionally Reformed believers today. Who is on team Postmil? John Calvin (maybe), Ulrich Zwinli, Martin Bucer, William Perkins, John Owen, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Manton, John Flavel, John Cotton, John Eliot (American Puritan), Wilhelmus Á Brakel, Isaac Watts, Jonathan Edwards, Andrew Fuller, William Carrey (fathers of the modern missions movement), B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, Greg Bahnsen, and me (not that I matter). In addition, most of the English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters of the 16th and 17th centuries were either Postmil or optimistic Amil. This is most evident by the Westminster Larger Catechism and the Savoy Declaration. X. RECOMMENDED READING FOR INTRODUCTIONS TO THESE POSITIONS. For Premillennial Dispensationalism I recommend reading “Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth” by John Gerstner; for Historic Premillennialism, “Amillennialism and the Age to Come” by Matt Waymeyer; for Amillennialism, “A Case for Amillennialism” by Kim Riddlebarger; and for Postmillennialism, both “Victory in Jesus” by Greg Bahnsen and “The Puritan Hope” by Ian Murray.
THE ALPHA OF THE REVELATION: Revelation 1
October 24, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Revelation 1
INTRODUCTION. What do you think about when the book of Revelation is mentioned? Do you think of clarity or obscurity? In his book Victory in Jesus, Dr. Greg Bahnsen writes, “The title of the book is called Revelation. The Greek word for revelation is “apocalypses” which means “unveiling,” or “pulling back the veil.” The sad fact is that many Christians look upon the book of Revelation not as a pulling back of the veil so that we might see the truth, but rather as God pulling the veil together and obscuring it so that we will not be able to see clearly. As a result, we are confused and there is all this controversy. We should, however, take heart just from the title of the book itself—it is the unveiling. God says if you want to know what this is all about, if you want to know where things are going, then let Me pull the curtain back for you. This is the revelation, not the obscuring; not the closing of the veil, but the opening of the veil so that we might be able to understand what God intends to do. He does not want to blind us in our outlook and our attitudes; He wants to open our eyes so that we can see.“ Amen. Let us approach the Revelation expecting God to help us understand what this unveiling reveals for our good and His glory. DOCTRINE. Because Christ loves us, He wants His slaves to know what He is doing in history, so that we may not lose heart and obey His commands despite the seeming odds. OUTLINE. In chapter one we have the recipients, purpose, promise, Alpha, and outline of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Consider each of these with me in turn. I. THE ORIGINAL RECIPIENTS OF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. . . John to the seven churches that are in Asia: . . . I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea” (Revelation 1:1-2, 4, 9-11). The original recipients are the seven churches in Asia. Each of them also has a specific portion of this book dedicated just to them (ch. 2-3). II. THE PURPOSE OF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:1-3). PURPOSE 1. To reveal Jesus Christ. “The revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1a). Think of the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ in the book of the Revelation: The Faithful Witness (Rev 1:5); The Firstborn of the Dead (Rev 1:5); The Ruler of the Kings on Earth (Rev 1:5); The Lord God (Rev 1:8); The Almighty (Rev 1:8); The Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13); The First and the Last (Rev 1:17b; 2:8; 22:13); The Living One (Rev 1:17b); The Faithful and True Witness (Rev 3:14b); The Amen (Rev 3:14b); The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5); The Root of David (Rev 5:5; 22:16); The Lamb (Rev 5:6, 8, 12, 13; 6:1, 16; 7:9, 10, 14, 17; 12:11; 13:8, 11; 14:1, 4 (twice), 10; 15:3; 17:14 (twice); 19:7, 9; 21:14, 22, 23; 22:1, 3); The King of Nations (Rev 15:3); The Shepherd (Rev 17:7); The King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 17:14a; 19:16); The Faithful and True (Rev 19:11); The Word of God (Rev 19:13); The Husband (Rev 21:2); The Beginning and End (Rev 21:6, 13); The Lamp (Rev 21:23); The Bright Morning Star (Rev 22:16); The Offspring of David (Rev 22:16). Think of a few other definitions of the Lord Jesus Christ in the book of the Revelation: He the Son of Man in the midst of the lampstands, which are His churches (Rev. 1:13-16); He holds the seven stars in his hands, and walks among the seven golden lampstands (Rev. 2:1); The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb standing, as though it had been slain (Rev. 5:6). One of the main purposes of the revelation of Jesus Christ is to reveal Jesus Christ. Do not miss out on this by getting bogged down in what is difficult in this book. PURPOSE 2. To prepare the slaves of Jesus Christ. “…which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw” (Rev. 1:1b-2). PURPOSE 3. To bless the slaves of Jesus Christ. “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev. 1:3). You need to Read. You need to Hear. You need to Keep. (i) The blessing is an increase of grace and peace from our triune God. “John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:4-5a). (ii) The blessing of an increase of grace and peace from our triune God comes through the Mediator, Christ Jesus, who is Prophet, Priest, and King. “Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5a). PURPOSE 4. To result in worship both now and forever. “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1:5b-6). Are you depressed or self-pitying? Look who loves you, believer. Are you feeling guilty over past sin? Look who freed you from the penalty of your sins by His blood. Are you a new creation, no longer loving the sins you used to but loving righteousness? Look who freed you from the power of sin by His blood. Are you feeling unworthy? Look who made you a priest. Are you feeling insignificant? Look who put you in His kingdom, to ascribe glory and dominion to Him. Consider all these great truths and worship both now and forever. III. THE PROMISE OF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth (or land) will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Rev. 1:7-8). The promise of the revelation of Jesus Christ is judgement on the enemies of God. IV. THE ALPHA OF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades“ (Rev. 1:12-18). O the beauties and excellencies of Christ! Look at the Alpha of the Revelation, the preeminent one, and take heart, men. This is your Prophet. This is your Priest. This is your King. You are His and He is yours. What can man do to you? However we should make sure we do not miss what God is doing here: This magnificent revelation of the glorious and powerful Jesus begins by showing us that He is in the midst of the lampstands. These lampstands represent His churches! The Alpha of the universe is the Head of the church. In Ephesians 1:15-22, Paul writes, “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Are you weak? Look to your Head, Jesus Christ! He is strong. V. THE OUTLINE OF THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST. “Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:19-20). Concerning the outline of the Revelation, Greg Bahnsen wrote, “The book of Revelation has its own outline. You know the old saying, “when all else fails, read the instructions.” Well, if we are having trouble understanding the book of Revelation, then we have not been paying attention to it since the book of Revelation has its own interpretive guide built right into it; we see it in Revelation 1:19.” In verse 19, Christ tells John, and us by implication, how to rightly divide this Revelation. The first things in the book of the Revelation are, “the things that [John has] seen” (v. 19a), which is what we have in Chapter 1. The second things in the book of the Revelation are “those that are” currently (v. 19b), which is what we have in Chapter’s 2-3. Now, some think that these 7 churches represent the different stages in church history. I am unconvinced of this. This argument cannot be made from Scripture, but seems forced upon the text. The third things in the book of the Revelation are the things that are “to take place after this” (v. 19c), which is what we have in Chapter’s 4-22. Chapter 4 even begins with “After this.” Chapter’s 4-5 introduce the things that will take place after this; Chapters 6-12 highlight the judgement on and destruction of Jerusalem; Chapters 13-18 highlight the judgement on and destruction of the Roman Empire; Chapter 19 shows the bride’s enjoyment of her relationship to her Husband, as well as Christ riding on His white horse to conquer the nations through the preaching of the Word of God (as had been introduced in chapter 6). The first half of chapter 20 deals with the binding of satan (with reference to deceiving the nations), and subsequently the saints then reigning with Christ for a thousand years. Halfway through chapter 20 until the end of 22, we have what is like the Postscript of the Revelation. John sees the second coming of Christ, followed by the great white throne judgement. Then in chapter’s 21 and 22 we have the perfection of the eternal state where believers dwell with Christ in the new heavens and the new earth for all eternity. The Revelation then ends with reminding the readers of many of things that had been mentioned at the beginning. Why is this important to understand? Because many today divide the Revelation up into 7 parts, and some even into 10 parts. I think it is much simpler than that. I am most convinced from the Scriptures of the three divisions that Bahnsen points out. CONCLUSION. So there you have it. In the first chapter we have the recipients, the purpose, the promise, the Alpha, and the outline of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Let me remind you of the doctrine: Because Christ loves us, He wants His slaves to know what He is doing in history, so that we may not lose heart and obey His commands despite the seeming odds. Whatever your position the revelation of Jesus Christ, as you read it, keep your eyes fixed on the Alpha, the Lord Jesus Christ! He wins and we win with Him. In Him, we can all take great comfort. In Him, we can all press on for His glory in faith.
THE ALMIGHTY OF THE REVELATION: Revelation 4
November 7, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Revelation 4
INTRODUCTION. You and I have suffering to endure, enemies to see defeated, and nations to disciple. As it is for us, so it was for those who first received this book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. What do we need in order to suffer faithfully, trust that the Lord will defeat our enemies, and persevere in doing our part to disciple the nations? We need the same thing that these first century Christians needed: a big view of our almighty God. Christians with a low view of God will endure little suffering for God, they will tremble in the presence of their enemies, and they will risk little things for the advancement of the gospel in discipling the nations. We need a big view of God, and that is exactly what Christ gives us in Revelation chapter 4. DOCTRINE. Before the Lord Jesus Christ shows His slaves the suffering of the saints, the defeat of the harlot and the beast, and Christ conquering the nations, He gives them a vision of God high and lifted up, who will sustain them to the end. As for the outline, we are going to consider the persons in the throne room, the glory of the One seated upon the throne, how we can have access to the one seated upon the throne, and how we should respond to Him that is seated upon the throne. First, consider I. THE PERSONS IN THE THRONE ROOM. God the Son is revealing the throne room. “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this’” (Rev. 4:1). Jesus is the one speaking, whose voice is like a trumpet (c.f Rev. 1:10). This is now the transition into the third portion of the book of the Revelation, as indicated by Christ saying he is going to show John, “what must take place after this” (c.f. Rev. 1:19). Christ summoned John to enter into the throne-room of God, to see Him high and lifted up! God the Father is seated upon the throne. “At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne (Rev. 4:2). This is God the Father (c.f Rev. 5:6-7). The twenty four elders are seated on twenty four lesser thrones. “Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads” (Rev. 4:4). These are representative of God’s saints in all times, with twelve Old Testament patriarchs and twelve New Testament apostles as their representatives (c.f. Rev. 21:14). God the Holy Spirit is before the throne. “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God” (Rev. 4:5). This is the Holy Spirit (c.f. Rev. 1:4). The four living creatures are around the throne. “And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within” (Rev. 4:6b-8a). Second, consider II. THE GLORY OF THE ONE SEATED UPON THE THRONE. I) The One seated upon the throne is majestic in beauty. “And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald” (Rev. 4:3). II) The One seated upon the throne is awful in splendor. “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder. . . and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal” (Rev. 4:5a, 6a). III) The One seated upon the throne is holy, holy, holy. “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy” (Rev. 4:8a). IV) The One seated upon the throne is almighty. “. . .is the Lord God Almighty’ (Rev. 4:8b; c.f Is. 6:1-5; Ez. 1:26-28). V) The One seated upon the throne is eternal. “…who was and is and is to come!’ (Rev. 4:8c, 9; c.f Is. 6:1-5; Ez. 1:26-28). John further explains this when twice he says in verse 9, “who lives for ever and ever.” VI) The One seated upon the throne is worthy of worship. “…the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power” (Rev. 4:10-11). VII) The One seated on the throne is the Creator and Sustainer of everything and everyone. “…for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created’” (Rev. 4:11b). Third, consider III. HOW WE CAN HAVE ACCESS TO THE ONE ON THE THRONE. Through faith alone in Christ alone do we gain access to the glorious One seated upon the throne. “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this” (Rev. 4:1). If Christ bids you come, you can come! Fourth consider IV. HOW WE SHOULD RESPOND TO HIM WHO IS SEATED ON THE THRONE. I) Day and night we should never cease to ascribe to the Lord holiness, might, and eternality. “day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ (Rev. 4:8; c.f Is. 6:1-5; Ez. 1:26-28). This is speaking up to others concerning the majesty of our God. Speak up to you families concerning the Lord’s holiness, might, and eternality! Speak up to the saints! Speak up in the marketplace! Speak up to your magistrates! Say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” II) We should fall down before Him in subjection and cast our crowns before His throne. “the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne” (Rev. 4:10). Fall down before him and worship Him by bringing the entirety of your life under His merciful rule—by subjecting yourselves to His easy yoke and light burden. This is the antidote to the fear of man. You will have no time to bow down to men in fear if you are bowing to your enthroned King in worship. You and I should cast our crowns before His throne by using all of our gifts, talents, abilities, and resources—all of which are gifts of His mercy—we should use all He has bestowed upon us for His great name’s sake! What has God bestowed upon you? Use that for His glory! III) We should fall down before Him and cast our crowns before the throne and worship Him by ascribing to Him glory, honor, and power. “‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created’” (Rev. 4:10). I would remind you of the doctrine we have learned. Before the Lord Jesus Christ shows His slaves the suffering of the saints, the defeat of the harlot and the beast, and Christ conquering the nations, He gives them a vision of God high and lifted up, who will sustain them to the end. CONCLUSION. Get your eyes up, men, to this almighty God who is seated on the throne. Fix your eyes on God in His glory and you will be able to suffer; you will be able to trust Him to defeat your enemies; and you will be able to faithfully do your part in discipling the nations beginning in your home, and branching out from there into the whole world.
THE LAMB OF THE REVELATION: Revelation 5
November 14, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Revelation 5
INTRODUCTION. I want to remind you of what we observed before we started Revelation 4. You and I have suffering to endure, enemies to see defeated, and nations to disciple. So it was for those who first received this book, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. What do we need in order to suffer faithfully, trust that the Lord will defeat our enemies, and persevere in doing our part to disciple the nations? We need the same thing that these first century Christians needed: First, we need a big view of our almighty God (Rev. 4). Second, we need a big view of our lion-like Lamb, Christ Jesus our Lord. Christians with a low view of Christ will endure little suffering for Christ, they will tremble in the presence of their enemies, and they will risk little for the advancement of the gospel in discipling the nations. We need a big view of our lion-like Lamb, and that is exactly what Christ gives us in Revelation chapter five. Before the Lord Jesus Christ shows His slaves the suffering of the saints, the defeat of the harlot and the beast, and His conquering the nations, He gives them a vision of Himself, the Lionlike Lamb who has conquered. “Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it” (Rev. 5:1-4). DOCTRINE. Christ is the Lionlike Lamb who has conquered, who will bring about God’s redemptive plan in history, and who is worthy of all praise. Now we have seven main points and a conclusion, with application sprinkled throughout. I. CHRIST IS THE CONQUERING LION. “And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals’” (Rev. 5:5). I) Christ is the conquering Lion who will accomplish God’s will in history. This was promised of Him in Genesis: “Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (Gen. 49:9-10). II) Christ is the conquering root of David who established a never-ending Kingdom. “And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2). Examine yourself by asking and answering these questions. Are you submitting to Christ Jesus as the Conquering Lion? Has He conquered you? Who do you think is in control of history? Do you worship Him as the conquering Lion and the eternal King? II. CHRIST IS THE ONCE CRUCIFIED, NOW RESURRECTED LAMB. “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Rev. 5:5). Christ is the resurrected Lamb, standing in heaven with His crucifixion scars still visible! John refers to Jesus as a Lamb twenty-eight times in this book. Are you trusting in this resurrected Lamb who has been previously slain? III. CHRIST IS THE ALL-POWERFUL LIONLIKE LAMB. “with seven horns” (Rev. 5:6b). IV. CHRIST IS THE ALL-KNOWING LIONLIKE LAMB WHO SENDS THE HOLY SPIRIT. “. . .and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth”(Rev. 5:6c). V. CHRIST IS THE WORTHY LIONLIKE LAMB WHO WILL BE WORSHIPPED BY ALL THE SAINTS. “And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals” (Rev. 5:7-9a). Christ is the Lionlike Lamb who is worthy to reveal and execute God’s eternal decree of redemptive history! John has been told he will see what must shortly come to pass. Christ is the revealer (Rev. 5:9a) and the executor of God’s plans (Rev. 6:1-2). Use this truth for comfort and confidence. Are you trusting in and following the real Jesus who is totally powerful and always performs His sovereign pleasure? He never tries to do anything. He does what He wants, when He wants. The real Jesus spoke crippled men to their feet, spit blind men their sight, touched lepers’ skin diseases away. The real Jesus drove demons away with a word, rebuked a hurricane like it was an ornery child, raised Lazarus like a general, knocked Saul of Tarsus off his horse like a warrior. The real Jesus forgives men and women like a lamb through His cross, brings them into union with Him like a lover by his Spirit, devours his enemies like a lion, and will one day make all things new like a master builder. This is the real Jesus. Oh! fall at His feet in worship and wonder. VI. CHRIST IS THE PURCHASER OF GOD’S ELECT. “. . . for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth’” (Rev. 5:9b-10). I) Christ purchased a people on the cross. “. . .for you were slain and by your blood you ransomed people for God” (Rev. 5:9b). Use this truth for comfort. Did Christ purchased you on the cross for God? Then you do not belong to Adam, the Devil, nor to your sin anymore. You have been set free from the misery of sin and adopted by the Almighty. Use this truth also for rebuke and exhortation. Did Christ purchase you on the cross for God? Then you do not belong to yourself. You were bought with a price. Therefore live for Him who for your sake died and was raised. II) Christ purchased many a people on the cross. “. . .and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9c). Use this truth for encouragement. Did Christ purchase many a people on the cross for God? Then go and get them by evangelism. III) Christ purchased a people to make them kings that reign on the earth “. . .and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth’” (Rev. 5:10). Use this truth also for encouragement. Did Christ purchase you so that you would rule on the earth? Then take dominion by the grace of God in your life, in your home, in your vocation, in all the earth. Do all of this in meekness, for “the meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). Do not fear, beloved brothers! The dominion mandate which Adam failed to uphold has been redeemed in Christ, the final Adam. He has saved you to be a kingdom, and He has promised “They shall reign on the earth.” IV) Christ purchased a people to make them priests that offer spiritual sacrifices. “. . .and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth’” (Rev. 5:10b). Use this truth for direction. If you are in Christ by faith, you have been purchased by Him on the cross to offer up spiritual sacrifices for His own glory! You have been purchased for private worship. You were bought by the blood of Christ for family worship. Christ was slain to ransom you for public worship. Christ also bought you for obedient worship. Jesus shed His blood, not to give you an excuse to go on sinning; He offered Himself as a bloody sacrifice on one day so that you would offer yourself as a living sacrifice every day. This is the Christian’s reasonable service, to strive to obey His commands in joy by the strength that He supplies. Test yourself by this: do you want to be a priest to God, offering up spiritual sacrifices for His glory, or do you simply want a get out of hell free card? VII. CHRIST IS THE ONCE-HUMILIATED, NOW-EXALTED LIONLIKE LAMB WHO WILL BE WORSHIPPED BY ALL THE ANGELS. “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,‘ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” (Rev. 5:11-12). What a perfect summary of how to praise Christ Jesus our Lord. Use these truths for exhortation. Ascribe Power to Christ because He has all authority in heaven and on earth. Ascribe Wealth to Christ because He owns everything and everyone. Ascribe Wisdom to Christ because He always knows what to do. Ascribe Might to Christ because He is powerfully able to accomplish all of His purposes. Ascribe Honor to Christ because He is valuable above all, He is the treasure of treasures. Ascribe Glory to Christ because He is incomprehensibly weighty and magnificent in all His perfections. Ascribe Blessing to Christ because He is praiseworthy. Oh! learn from these angels what you should ascribe to Christ if you want to properly worship Him! Use these truths also for direction. Do you ascribe these things to Jesus? Let me give you two directions here: First, meditate on these truths to bring comfort to your soul, then praise Christ by ascribing to Him all of these things we can learn from the myriad of angels. Second, teach these truths to your wife and your kids; to your small group; to Christ’s church. CONCLUSION. Christ and His Father will be worshipped by all of creation. “And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!’” (Rev. 5:13). How do you respond to this chapter of the Scriptures? Do you respond like the four living creatures in verse fourteen? You should. “And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ and the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev. 5:14). May God give you there grace to say amen like the elect angels! Jesus Christ is the infinitely worthy Lionlike Lamb. Therefore all saints, all angels, indeed all creation, will ascribe glory to Him.
THE CONQUEROR OF THE REVELATION: Revelation 6:1-2
November 21, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Revelation 6:1–2
Revelation 6:2 is the shot in the arm you need when you lack confidence in Christ. Memorize this verse and all that it entails, because you and I do not need self-confidence to live the Christian life for God’s glory; we need Christ-confidence. Revelation 6:1 says, “Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’” Henry writes of this, “Christ, the Lamb, opens the first seal; he now enters upon the great work of opening and accomplishing the purposes of God towards the church and the world." So this is the beginning of the revelation of what the worthy lionlike-lamb will execute in history for God's glory. So much for the context, now for the doctrine. DOCTRINE. Christ has gone out conquering and to conquer. Therefore the slaves of Christ can rest their souls as they labor their bodies for His glory with total confidence. Now, I want to give you five points of doctrine from the text, and then application at the end. I. CHRIST IS RIDING FORTH ON A WHITE HORSE. “And I looked, and behold, a white horse!” (Rev. 6:2a). John Gill noted, “That Christ is designed by him that sat on the white horse, and is thus described, is evident from Revelation 19:11, with which compare Psalm 45.” John Trapp said of this passage, “He that sat on him” is Christ (Rev. 19:11; Ps. 65:5). The conquerors entered into Rome carried on a white horse.“ Matthew Henry wrote, “In verse 2, the Lord Jesus appears riding on a white horse. White horses are generally refused in war, because they make the rider a mark for the enemy; but our Lord Redeemer was sure of the victory and a glorious triumph.“ Psalm 45:4a says, “In your majesty ride out victoriously.” This is also the picture of Christ revealed to us in Revelation 19:11-13. Christ is riding forth in history on a white horse, accomplishing God’s purposes in the world for the glory of the triune God. Now many commentators take the white horse to be the church. The church is depicted as white for its purity of life and doctrine. We are depicted as a horse for our swift yet enduring progress in preaching the gospel and planting Churches throughout the world. Eusebius, an early church historian, said, “The apostles and preachers of apostolic doctrine ran through the world like a sunbeam, and were carried as on eagles’ or on angels’ wings.” Even the Apostles saw this. In Colossians 1:5-6 Paul writes, “The gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing.” II. CHRIST IS RIDING FORTH WITH A BOW. “. . .And its rider had a bow” (Rev. 6:2b). Of Christ, Psalm 45:5 says, “Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you.” John Trapp noted, “[This bow is] the doctrine of the gospel, whereby the people fall under him“ (Psalm 45:5). Henry wrote, “‘He had a bow in his hand.’ The convictions impressed by the word of God are sharp arrows, they reach at a distance; and, though the ministers of the word draw the bow at a venture, God can and will direct it to the joints of the harness. This bow, in the hand of Christ, abides in strength, and, like that of Jonathan, never returns empty.” The Lord Jesus Christ, as He rides forth, fires arrows both of salvation, and arrows of judgement from His bow! God’s Prophet speaks of this kind of arrow attack. “You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows. Selah. You split the earth with rivers. . . .You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah” (Hab. 3:9, 12-13). In the Revelation, Christ fires arrows of judgement at his enemies, apostate Israel and the emperor-worshipping Roman empire. Yet He also fires arrows of salvation, because, as Habakkuk says, “He went out for the salvation of His people.” Christ is riding forth with a bow. III. CHRIST IS RIDING FORTH WITH A CROWN. “. . .and a crown was given to him” (Rev. 6:2c). Psalm 45:6 says of Christ, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” Matthew Henry, in his commentary on Revelation 6, observes, “A crown was given him, importing that all who receive the gospel must receive Christ as a king, and must be his loyal and obedient subjects; he will be glorified in the success of the gospel. When Christ was going to war, one would think a helmet had been more proper than a crown; but a crown is given him as the earnest and emblem of victory.” Paul writes in Philippians 2:8-11, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” As Peter said in his sermon at Pentecost, “God has made Him both Lord and Christ.” Christ has been given the name above every name, a crown of glory and honor. He is King of kings and Lord of lords right now. Christ is riding forth with a crown. IV. CHRIST IS RIDING FORTH CONQUERING. “. . .and he came out conquering” (Rev. 6:2e). In Psalm 45:4 the saints of old sang of Christ, “In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!” It was anticipated that he would ride out victoriously, and John sees Him riding indeed. Jerome said in 378, “From India to Britain, all nations resound with the death and resurrection of Christ.” John Trapp noted in his day, “Christ came and conquered this kingdom (Britain), which the Romans with all their power could not do.” What does this conquering look like? It looks like what Christ promised: “He said therefore, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’ And again he said, ‘To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened’” (Lk. 13:18-20). Christ’s conquering looks like a mustard seed growing into mustard tree, then slowly but surely taking over the whole garden. It looks also like a little bit of yeast that slowly but surely works its way through the entire loaf of bread. There were 120 believers the morning of Pentecost and now the Kingdom of Christ has advanced so much so that millions and millions of saints around the world are reconciled to God in Christ. Christ is riding forth conquering. V. CHRIST IS RIDING FORTH WITH THE INTENTION TO CONQUER. “. . .and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2e). This is the same that is foretold in Psalm 45:4: “In your majesty ride out victoriously.” In Psalm 2:8, God the Father says to God the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” Consider these other passages of Scripture concerning the promised conquest of Christ throughout the nations: “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). “Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” (Ps. 72:19). “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Is. 11:9). “The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (Ps. 110:1). “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:24-26). Matthew Henry, at the end of his commentary on this section of Scripture, wrote, “Observe, From this seal opened, The successful progress of the gospel of Christ in the world is a glorious sight, worth beholding, the most pleasant and welcome sight that a good man can see in this world. Whatever convulsions and revolutions happen in the states and kingdoms of the world, the kingdom of Christ shall be established and enlarged in spite of all opposition. . . Christ's work is not all done at once. We are ready to think, when the gospel goes forth, it should carry all the world before it, but it often meets with opposition, and moves slowly; however, Christ will do his own work effectually, in his own time and way.” Christ is riding forth with the intention to conquer. APPLICATION. Do you belong to this Conquering Savior and King? Then see what confidence you should have every day. In your private worship, you are worshipping and communing with the one riding forth conquering and to conquer. You con confidently commune with the triune God who has made peace with you through His triumphant Son. Worship the Lord confidently in private. In your family worship, you are leading your families to pay tribute to the one Conquering Savior—you can confidently offer thanks to the one who has conquered you by His love. Worship the Lord confidently with your family. In public worship, you are assembling with the saints to offer up sacrifices of praise to the victorious rider on the white horse, the lionlike lamb who was slain for us—you can confidently offer praise to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood. You can confident offer worship to Him who has made us a kingdom and priests to our God. Worship the Lord confidently in Public. IV) In your vocation, you are serving the Lord Christ, who wears the crown—you can confidently work your job for His great name’s sake, remembering He has all authority in heaven and son earth. Serve the Lord confidently in your vocation. In evangelism, you are declaring the good news of the one who is conquering and means to conquer—no one can stay His hand nor thwart His plan. He has people left to conquer in your city; you can go forth confidently and get them. Proclaim the Lord confidently in evangelism. In discipleship, you are teaching the good commands of the one who is conquering and intends to conquer. You can confidently teach his Law and commands, as well as His promises and providences, to His people unashamedly. He makes his people willing in the day of His power (Ps. 110). Make disciples confidently in teaching and applying the Scriptures to the everyday lives of the saints. When you are persecuted for righteousness sake, you are backed by the one who has a bow and many sharp arrows. Christ will either kill their sin or kill them in their sin. You can take every bit of your life captive for Christ, and confidently strive to obey Him, knowing He wears the crown and holds the bow. Endure persecution confidently for His name’s sake. In Church Planting, you are taking part in great work of the rider on the white horse who came out conquering and to conquer. You can confidently risk money, possessions, comforts, and even your life, knowing He means to Conquer. He will use you, by His grace, as a means to that end for His glory and other’s good. Labor to plant churches confidently for His glory. CONCLUSION. Let me say this one word of exhortation, which is the same thing we introduced this sermon with. Revelation 6:2 is the shot in the arm you need when you lack confidence in Christ. Read it again and go forth from this place in His triumphant procession. “And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2).
THE RIDER OF THE REVELATION: Revelation 19:11-16
November 28, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Revelation 19:11–16
INTRODUCTION. Let me remind you of what has been revealed thus far in The Revelation of Jesus Christ. In chapter one we learn that because Christ loves us, He wants His slaves to know what He is doing in history, so that we may not lose heart and obey His commands despite the seeming odds. In chapter four we learn that before the Lord Jesus Christ shows His slaves the suffering of the saints, the defeat of the harlot and the beast, and Christ conquering the nations, He gives them a vision of God high and lifted up, who will sustain them to the end. Chapter five revealed that Christ is the Lionlike Lamb who has conquered, who will bring about God’s redemptive plan in history, and who is worthy of all praise. And in chapter 6, verses 1-2, we learn that Christ has gone out conquering and to conquer. Therefore the slaves of Christ can rest their souls as they labor their bodies for His glory with total confidence. Now we consider what Christ reveals to His slaves in chapter 19:11-6. Chapter 19 comes after the revelation of Christ’s execution of judgements on both apostate Israel and the Roman Empire. Revelation 6:1-2 showed us Christ beginning to ride, and now in we are shown the rider in more glorious detail. DOCTRINE. The Lord Jesus Christ is riding on a white horse as He conquers the nations with his saints behind him. I think we should consider four major things as we look at this text: I) The Accolades, II) Appearance, III) Activity, and IV) Accompaniment of the rider on the white horse. Then we will conclude with exhortations. In Revelation 19:11, John writes, “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!” John Trapp noted, “[This is] Christ riding as an Emperor triumphing.” John Gill likewise said, “It may denote a very glorious appearing of Christ, not in person, which will be after this, but in his kingdom and power, in defeating his enemies, and reigning spiritually with his saints.“ I. THE ACCOLADES OF THE RIDER. I) The Lord Jesus Christ is named Faithful and True. “The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11b). Christ the rider is faithful, always accomplishing what He promises. He is also true, slaying errors and setting sinners free as the Truth. Wilhelmus À Brakel commented, “He is Faithful to His church. He takes care of her. He never leaves her. He stands by her and helps her. He is the True One. He promises in uprightness and fulfills it in steadfastness.“ What a great comfort to we who are in Christ that the conqueror of the cosmos is not unstable nor fraudulent, but Faithful and True. II) The Lord Jesus Christ also has a name that no one knows but Himself. “. . .and he has a name written that no one knows but himself” (Rev. 19:12c). A name refers to all that is true about someone, the totality of the person. Therefore this speaks to the infinite being of the Son of God. Oh the infinite magnitude and excellencies of the Lord Jesus Christ! III) The Lord Jesus Christ is named the Word of God. “. . .and the name by which he is called is The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13b). Christ is the revelation of God Himself, the exact imprint of His nature. IV) The Lord Jesus Christ named the King of kings and Lord of lords. “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). Note, Christ does not have a sword on His thigh, only a name. The sword he uses is not the sword of the hand, but the sword of the mouth. II. THE APPEARANCE OF THE RIDER. I) The Lord Jesus Christ has eyes like a flame of fire. “His eyes are like a flame of fire” (Rev. 19:12a). This is Christ function in His Prophetical office. His eyes see through religious showmanship and hypocritical facades. He is the Prophet who not only speaks the Word of the Lord, but knows exactly what to say because He sees all. He can say to each of His churches “I know” like he does to the seven in Revelation, and then speak to them according to each of their cases. The Lord Jesus has eyes like a flame of fire. II) The Lord Jesus Christ wears many crowns. “. . .and on his head are many diadems” (Rev. 19:12b). John Trapp quips, “Let the triple crowned pope look to himself; Christ outcrowns him by far.” Christ is King, and he is a King who wears many crowns. These diadems are the rewards of His suffering. One of the diadems on Christ’s head is His divine rights over every soul. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (Jn. 3:36). Christ is the enthroned King to which all men must bow down for salvation, or they will be hewn down in damnation. Christ honoring self-government is owed to Christ for His glory! Another one of the diadems that Christ wears as the reward of His suffering is His divine rights over every home. Christ is King over homes, so much so that the prophet Jeremiah says, “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name” (Jer. 10:25 KJV). Christ exalting family-government is owed to Christ for His glory! Another one of the diadems Christ wears as the reward of His suffering is His divine rights over every visible Church. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:22-23, “[God the Father] put all things under [Christ’s] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Christ extolling church-government is owed to Christ for His glory! Another one of the diadems Christ wears as the reward of His suffering is His divine rights over the civil government. Again, Revelation 19:16, says Christ is the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Christ magnifying civil-government is owed to Christ for His glory! If any of these diadems on Christ’s head are neglected, you are trying to steal the crown rights of the Redeemer from the Redeemer. III) The Lord Jesus Christ wears a robe dipped in blood. “He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood” (Rev. 19:13a). John Gill notes, “‘And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.’ Either in his own, by which he became the Saviour of his church and people; or else in the blood of his saints, he now comes to avenge; or rather in the blood of his enemies, with which he appears as stained, before the battle is fought, the victory being sure, and their slaughter unavoidable.” Matthew Poole comments, “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; either to denote that he was he who redeemed us by his blood; or rather, to signify that he was now coming forth to shed the blood of his enemies, both in vindication of his own honour and glory, or of his people.” As you can see, there is debate as to what Christ’s blood-baptized robe symbolizes. Does it symbolize the blood of His enemies as He slays them? or the blood of His martyrs that He has come to defend? or does this blood represent His Priestly office and sacrificial death as He rides forth to save His people by applying the blood of the covenant to them? Paul says of Christ’s substitutionary death, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Eph. 1:7). Again Paul writes, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19-20). The apostle to the Hebrews writes, “The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). Again the apostle to the Hebrews says that believers have come to “Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Heb. 10:24). I believe the blood-dipped robe Christ wears as He conquers the nations is the blood of the covenant, bountiful and free-flowing to save sinners by its application. This is Christ in His priestly office. He rides forth conquering the nations by applying His blood to the elect through the preaching of the gospel, which is represented by the striking down the nations with the sword which proceeds from His mouth. After this, Christ is revealed in His office role Judge when he is said to, tread the winepress of the wrath of God. Thus the appearance of the rider reveals Christ as the Prophet with fiery eyes, the Priest with a blood-dipped robe, and King with many diadems. What a magnificent and confidence building view of our Lord and Savior! III. THE ACTIVITY OF THE RIDER. I) The Lord Jesus Christ judges and makes war in righteousness. Revelation 19:11c “and in righteousness he judges and makes war.” This war includes both saving His enemies and destroying others. All of it is done in righteousness. II) The Lord Jesus Christ strikes down the nations with the sword which proceeds from His mouth. “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations” (Rev. 19:15a). Isaiah 11:4 says, “He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked.” How will Christ strike down the nations? Will He do it by conquering His enemies through damnation or salvation? What does the Lord promise of His Christ concerning the nations? Judge for yourself. “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Is. 49:6). “And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Is. 60:3). This is the salvation of the nations that is constantly promised throughout the Old Testament. This striking down is not with the sword of His arm but with the sword of His mouth, the gospel. This has happened to you if you are in Christ. Praise the Lord! III) The Lord Jesus Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron. “. . .and he will rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19:15b). This promised of Christ even in that great Psalm which depicts his crucifixion and its accomplishments. “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations” (Ps. 22:28). IV) The Lord Jesus Christ will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of the Almighty God. “He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Rev. 19:15c). This is what will happen to all who will not repent and go to Christ by faith! John Gill said, “The fierce wrath of God against sinners is compared to a winepress; and the wicked antichristian party are likened to clusters of grapes; who being ripe for destruction, are cast into it, and pressed, squeezed, and trodden down by the mighty power of Christ, the Word of God.“ Those who will not let Christ slay their sins by the word of his mouth (Hos. 6:5), will be slain by the sword of his arm in judgment (Isa. 51:9). He will cut unrepentant sinners into pieces like “Samuel hewed Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal” (1 Sam. 15:33). IV. THE ACCOMPANIMENT OF THE RIDER. As Christ rides forth conquering and to conquer, His faithful slaves follow Him as conquerors themselves. “And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses” (Rev. 19:14a). John Trapp wrote of this, “[These are] The heavenly minded heroes that fight his battles, are all in his livery, horsed and habited as he, in whom they are more than conquerors, because they are sure to conquer before they fight.” Are you on a white horse, clothed in the righteousness of God that comes by faith alone in Christ alone, or are you riding a dark horse, clothed in your sin and an enemy of God? Are you riding behind Christ or riding your own direction? CONCLUSION. Let me say a few words of application and exhortation under these three headings. First, you must conquer. Second, how to conquer. Third, what is promised to those who conquer with Christ. Consider with me portions of each of Christ’s letters to the seven churches which are founders in Revelation 2-3. I want you to look at each portion which mentions a call from Christ to conquer, and then make application of them to yourself. I) You must conquer. (i) You must conquer your apathy, by always staying near your first love, Christ. The church at Ephesus had lost their first love, so Christ called them to repent. Then he says, “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God’” (Rev. 2:7). (ii) You must conquer the temptation to abandon Christ when persecution comes. The Church at Smyrna was about to suffer, so Christ promised them the crown of life if they be faithful unto death. He said, “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death” (Rev. 2:11). (iii) You must conquer the seduction of idolatry and sexual immorality. The Church at Pergamum had been allured by the doctrine of balaam, tempted into idolatry and sexual immorality. Jesus said, “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it” (Rev. 2:17). (iv) You must take part in the conquering of the nations by holding fast the pure doctrine of, and pure conduct in, Christ. The Church at Thyatira had some that had followed the course of idolatry and sexual immorality, but some had kept themselves pure. To the faithful Christ said, “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father” (Rev. 2:26-27). (v) You and I must conquer the temptation to sleepwalk in our duties, slipping into mere formality or superstition. The Church at Sardis had an external reputation of being alive, but inside they were dead. Therefore Christ called them to repent. Then He said, “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Rev. 3:5). (vi) You and I must conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil by patient endurance. The Church in Philadelphia was commended for “[keeping Christ’s] word about patient endurance.” Therefore the Lord says to them, “The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name” (Rev. 3:12) (vii) You and I must conquer the evangellyfish allure of being neither hot nor cold. The church at Laodicea was neither hot nor cold, and they are almost as famous as The Gospel Coalition for it. “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Rev. 3:21). We must learn from these failures and resolve to stand firm. Stand for truth. Stand for the innocent. Stand for Christ. Stand firm knowing all who desire to live a godly life on Christ Jesus will be persecuted. II) How to conquer. You will conquer only through faith in Jesus Christ. “ For everyone who has been born of God overcomes (conquer) the world. And this is the victory that has overcome (conquered) the world—our faith” (1 Jn. 5:4). You will conquer by refreshing yourself constantly by focusing on Christ the true Conquerer. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome (conquered) the world” (Jn. 16:33). You will conquer by great suffering through Him who loves you. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). III) What is promised to those who conquer with Christ. “And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:6-8). There is a promise and a warning here. Tremble at the warning; rejoice at the promise; press on through faith alone in the Lord Jesus alone. B.B. Warfield, commenting on Revelation 19:11-21, is worth quoting at length here: “The section opens with a vision of the victory of the Word of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all His enemies. We see Him come forth from heaven girt for war, followed by the armies of heaven; the birds of the air are summoned to the feast of corpses that shall be prepared for them: the armies of the enemy - the beasts and the kings of the earth - are gathered against Him and are totally destroyed; and "all the birds are filled with their flesh" (xix. 11-21). It is a vivid picture of a complete victory, an entire conquest, that we have here; and all the imagery of war and battle is employed to give it life. This is the symbol. The thing symbolized is obviously the complete victory of the Son of God over all the hosts of wickedness. Only a single hint of this signification is afforded by the language of the description, but that is enough. On two occasions we are carefully told that the sword by which the victory is won proceeds out of the mouth of the conqueror (verses 15 and 21). We are not to think, as we read, of any literal war or manual fighting, therefore; the conquest is wrought by the spoken word - in short, by the preaching of the Gospel. In fine, we have before us here a picture of the victorious career of the Gospel of Christ in the world. All the imagery of the dread battle and its hideous details are but to give us the impression of the completeness of the victory. Christ's Gospel is to conquer the earth: He is to overcome all His enemies. There is, of course, nothing new in this. The victory of the Gospel was predicted over and over again even in Old Testament times under the figure of a spiritual conquest. It is thus also that Paul pictures it. It is thus that John himself elsewhere portrays it: it is indeed the staple representation of this whole book. In particular we perceive that this splendid vision is, after all, only the expansion of the parallel vision given in the second verse of the sixth chapter. When the first seal was opened, "And I saw," says the seer, "and, behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon had a bow; and there was given unto him a crown: and he came forth conquering, and to conquer." It is the same scene that is now before us, only strengthened and made more emphatic as befits its place near the end of the book. We recall now the principle of "recapitulation" which governs the structure of the book, and see that this first vision of the last section, in accordance with the general method of the book, returns to the beginning and portrays for us, as vi. 2 and xii. 1 do, the first coming of the Lord and the purpose and now, with more detail and stress, the issue of this coming. What we have here, in effect, is a picture of the whole period between the first and second advents, seen from the point of view of heaven. It is the period of the advancing victory of the Son of God over the world, emphasizing, in harmony with its place at the end of the book, the completeness of the victory. It is the eleventh chapter of Romans and the fifteenth of I Corinthians in symbolical form: and there is nothing in it that was not already in them - except that, perhaps, the completeness of the triumph of the Gospel is possibly somewhat more emphasized here.” To that I say, “Amen!”
THE MILLENNIUM OF THE REVELATION: Revelation 20
December 8, 2022 • Brett Baggett • Revelation 20
We have finally made it to the section of the Revelation that mentions the Thousand Year Reign of the Church with Christ. It has been said, “The Millennium is a thousand years of peace that the church likes to fight about.” Well we are not going to fight about it, but we are going to contend for what we believe the Scripture contends for. Before we dig in to chapter 20, let me remind you of what we have seen thus far in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In chapter 1 we learned that because Christ loves us, He wants His slaves to know what He is doing in history, so that we may not lose heart and obey His commands despite the seeming odds. In chapter’s 2-3 Christ wrote letters to the seven churches who originally received this book, wherein He charges them to conquer the world, the flesh, and the devil by faith. In chapter 4 Christ reveals God the Father seated on the throne of the universe, high and lifted up. In chapter 5 Christ reveals Himself as the Lionlike Lamb who has conquered by His life, death, and resurrection, and who will conquer by bringing about God’s redemptive plan in history. Chapter’s 5-6 should both build confidence in the people of God because of their Almighty Father and Lionlike Lamb who will accomplish all of God’s purposes. In chapter 6 Christ reveals Himself as having gone out conquering and to conquer, bowed, crowned, and riding His white horse. In chapters’s 6-11 Christ reveals the judgement that He will bring upon apostate Israel, even as He promised in the Olivet discourse. In chapters’s 12-18 Christ reveals the judgement that He will bring upon Rome. By chapter 18 we are shown both instrumental human causes of Christ’s crucifixion and the churches persecution (the Jews and the Roman Empire) being thrown down in judgement. In chapters 19 Christ reveals Himself in more detail as He rides His white horse conquering and to conquer the nations, this time revealing His saints behind Him in the same victorious charge. In chapter 20 we are shown how Christ will conquer the nations by His gospel and through His church. We are also shown the reigning of Christ with His saints in the millennium. We are then shown the final defeat of Satan and the judgement of the living and the dead before the judgement seat of Christ, just before the eternal state is ushered in. DOCTRINE. Before the final defeat of Satan and the great white throne judgement, Christ will be successful in conquering the nations by His gospel. Or the more detailed version is this: Before the final defeat of Satan and the great white throne judgement, Christ will be successful in conquering the nations by His gospel because He has bound Satan with respect to deceiving the nations, and because He has made His regenerated saints to rule with Him on the earth as priests and kings. Now before we begin, I want to give you an idea of where we are going in this study of Revelation 20. There are five main points under which we are going to study Revelation 20. Firstly, with each point I am going to state the obvious and general truth learned in the verses we are considering. With these general points I think premil’s, amil’s, and postmil’s would all agree. II. Secondly, with each point I am going to explain the different views of the three main positions. Sometimes I will conflate historic premil and premil dispensational, and sometimes I will leave the dispy view over in the corner to starve and freeze to death, as I hope it eventually does in history. III. Thirdly, with each point I am going to seek to both explain and apply concerning my understanding and convictions of the verses. I. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MILLENNIUM, SATAN IS BOUND SO THAT HE MIGHT NOT DECEIVE THE NATIONS ANY LONGER. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while” (Rev. 20:1-3). Concerning the Binding of Satan and the Thousand Years, Premillennialists believe this will be after the second coming of Christ, which they place at Revelation 19. In their view, the Millennium then follows this with Christ physically reigning on earth, along with his saints, and subduing the nations through military might. Amillennialists believe this has already happened and that the thousand years is symbolic of the church age, where both evil and the gospel spread in a neutral fashion. Postmillennialists generally believe this has already happened and that the thousand years is the New Covenant age that we are in right now, wherein Christ is slowly but surely conquering the nations by His gospel through His church. Some postmillennial historicists, such as James Durham, and Jonathan Edwards, believe this will begin at a later time, with some even holding that this will be a literal one thousand years, such as Wilhelmus À Brakel. Christ is the one who binds Satan. Matthew Poole wrote, “The description of this angel can agree to none but Christ. . . for, in Revelation 1:18 it is Christ who hath the power of hell and death; and it is he who alone is stronger than the devil, which must be supposed to him that binds him, or we must think the devil much tamer than he is.” Consider Matthew 12:25-29: “Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.” In Matthew 12 Christ says He binds Satan so that He can plunder his house. In Revelation 20, we see Christ do it. Satan is bound so that he would no longer deceive the nations, in order that the gospel would progress throughout the world. The nations, composed of Gentiles, were once in darkness and captured by Satan’s deception. But now they are brought into the church by Christ and His Spirit through the gospel. “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:12-13). II. DURING THE MILLENNIUM, THOSE THAT SHARE IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION REIGN WITH CHRIST AS PRIESTS AND KINGS. “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4-6). Concerning the Thousand Years and the First Resurrection, Premillennialists believe Christ will return in Revelation 19 and he will physically reign on the earth in Jerusalem for a literal one thousand years with those whom He has physically resurrected, which they understand to be “the first resurrection.” In addition to this, Dispensationalists believe the Jews will be the ones who reign with Christ, the Temple will be rebuilt, and animal sacrifices will be reinstated as Christ rules through military might. Amillennialists believe the both the first resurrection is spiritual, and that the thousand year reign is both metaphorical and spiritual, taking place in the intermediate state or in the hearts of believers in the church age. Postmillennialists believe the first resurrection is the regeneration of the saints. We also generally believe the millennial reign of the church with Christ is metaphorical in length yet literal in meaning. Christ will continue to ride forth with the intention to conquer in fulfillment of the great commission. Satan is bound. The nations are slowly but surely being discipled. In the later days, the saints will especially enjoy the peace and prosperity that comes from Christ’s gospel conquest. There is only one bodily resurrection, and it happens at the day of judgement. The Bible everywhere affirms that the wicked and the righteous will be raised at the same time, and it leaves no room for a 1,000 year gap between the righteous and the wicked being bodily resurrected. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2). Sam Storms went so far as to say that to hold to premillennialism is to abandon inerrancy. Now, John Piper did not like that. But why would Dr. Storms say that? Because of the analogy of Scripture. We interpret the unclear passages with the clear ones. Consider 1 Corinthians 15:23-25: “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” The return of Christ, the bodily resurrection, and the judgement is the end. These things are not the beginning of 1,000 year reign. There is no room in the Bible for a thousand year gap between Christ’s second coming, the judgement, the resurrection off the dead, and the ushering in of the eternal state. II) The first resurrection is the regenerating work of God the Holy Spirit who brings Christ’s people to spiritual life. Paul speaks of the eventual conversion of the Jews and calls it “life from the dead” (Rom. 11:15). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6). Ezekiel 37 also depicts the salvation of God’s people as a spiritual resurrection, with the vision of the valley of dry bones. Christ Himself speaks of this first resurrection, which we take to mean regeneration, and the second resurrection, which is bodily and physical in John 5:25-29: “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” Furthermore, we are told that those who share in the first resurrection are safe from the second death. They are not safe from the first death, which is our physical death. They are safe from the second death, which is judgement forever in hell. Christ will be successful in fulfilling His great commission through His church. “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Is. 49:6). “And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Is. 60:3). “In your majesty ride out victoriously” (Ps. 45:4). In Psalm 2:8, God the Father says to God the Son, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” “Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” (Ps. 72:19). “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool’” (Ps. 110:1). “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Is. 11:9). “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet” (1 Cor. 15:25). Jonathan Edwards is worth quoting at length here. He wrote that the prophecies of the future glorious state of the church “speak of Jerusalem's being made ‘the joy of the whole earth,’ and also the ‘joy of many generations’ (Ps. 48:2; Is. 60:15), that ‘God's people should long enjoy the work of their hands’ (Is. 65:22), that they should ‘reign with Christ a thousand years’ (Rev. 20) by which we must at least understand a very long time. But it would be endless to mention all the places, which signify that the time of the church's great peace and prosperity should be of long continuance: almost all the prophecies that speak of her latter-day glory, imply it; and it is implied in very many of them, that when once this day of the church's advancement and peace is begun, it shall never end, till the world ends; or, at least, that there shall be no more a return of her troubles and adversity for any considerable continuance; that then ‘the days of her mourning shall be ended’ (Is. 60:20); that her tribulations ‘should then be as the waters of Noah Unto God, that as he has sworn that the waters of Noah should no more Pass over the earth, so he will swear that he will no more be wroth with his people, or rebuke them’ (Is. 54:9).” Believers reign with Christ a thousand years as priests and kings on the earth. “You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10). “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:20-23). USE THIS TRUTH FOR REPROOF, REBUKE, AND EXHORTATION. There is no room for a defeatist attitude in the Christian life. Growing in grace is not a battle we lose. Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God. You are not ordinary. The Spirit of Christ lives in you and He will strengthen you as He sanctifies you. Perhaps you feel strengthless because you are prayerless. The dominion mandate has been reclaimed in Christ. Go and take dominion by the Holy Spirit’s help over yourself, your home, in your vocation, as a part of the church, and in the entire world for Christ’s glory. Christ bought you to be kings and priests who worship and reign. Act like it. The great commission is not a losing effort. Christ did not say, “tell the nations.” He commanded us to “Disciple the nations.” Do your part, beginning in your home, your church, your city, your state, even to the nations through missionaries and church-planting. Christ did not say, “I might reign.” He said, “I must reign until I have put all my enemies under my feet.” We are promised that our bad things will work out for good, our good things can never be lost, and the best things are yet to come. We are given too great of promises to sit and sulk. Crucify your defeatist attitude. After that, take up the Sword of the Spirit in your right hand, Christ’s promises in your left, and faith in your heart. Ride forward on your white horse behind Christ. He has conquered; He is conquering; and He intends to conquer. We do not lose because Christ does not lose. III. AT THE END OF THE MILLENNIUM, SATAN IS RELEASED AND A GREAT NUMBER OF THE DECEIVED THREATEN THE BODY OF CHRIST. “And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city” (Rev. 20:7-9a). Concerning the releasing of Satan and the city surrounded, Premillennialists believe that once Satan is loosed, Christ and His people will eventually be surrounded by them at Jerusalem, where Christ has been physically ruling. Amillennialists and Postmillennialists believe that once Satan is released there will be a great rebellion and the deceived who follow Satan will want to do great harm to the church, but Christ will not physically be on the earth at this point because His second coming has not yet happened. For the context behind the imagery of Gog and Magog, see Ezekiel 38:1, 22-23. The enemies of the Lord’s people want to do great violence, but the Lord overthrows them in fiery fury, just like here at the second coming of Christ. Why is this great rebellion allowed to get going? Christ will loose Satan so that he may deceive the nations again just before the end, showing that all the peace and prosperity of the churches millennial reign was due to His grace and not their merit. “So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD” (Ez. 38:23). IV. AFTER THE SAINTS ARE THREATENED, CHRIST WILL DESTROY HIS ENEMIES AND THROW SATAN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. “…but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:9b-10). Concerning the Final Judgement of Satan, Premillennialists believe that Christ and His people will be surrounded by Satan and his legions, but that God the Father will reign down fire on them, saving Christ and His people from destruction, and then Satan will be thrown into hell. Amillennialists and Postmillennialists believe that just as this great threatening by Satan and the deceived starts to gain traction, Christ will return to both defeat Satan and to judge the living and the dead. This is the second coming of Christ. There is only one second coming. Before the judgement of the just and unjust, Christ takes the devil by the tail and throws him into hell. Christ will come a second time in fiery fury to finally defeat Satan and those who belong to him. “When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed” (2 Thess. 1:7-10). V. AFTER SATAN IS THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WILL JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, BOTH GREAT AND SMALL. “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15). Concerning the Great White Throne Judgement, Premillennialists believe this is the judgement of the wicked only, not the judgement of the righteous, since the judgement of the righteous must have taken place before Jesus physically resurrected them at the outset of the Millennium. Amillennialists and Postmillennialists believe this is the resurrection of both the just and the unjust for judgement before the judgement seat of Christ, right before Jesus ushers in the eternal state of believers on the New Earth and unbelievers in hell. There is only one judgement and it happens at the second coming of Christ, after He has foot-stooled every enemy save death itself. “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:1). “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matt. 25:31-32; also c.f. 2 Thess. 1:7-10 mentioned above). “Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:24-26). Christ will judge the living the dead, both great and small, even you. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Cor. 5:10). The books that will be opened are likely the books of Conscience, God’s Law, and God’s Omniscience. Have you obeyed your conscience? God’s Law? God sees everything and marks it down. This judgement will reveal whether or not those who profess Christ actually belong to Christ (per Matthew 25). He will reward those who are His and damn those who are not. Then another book is opened, the book of life, wherein is contained the names of all those the Lamb has redeemed. Is your name there? Go to Jesus Christ in faith and you can be sure it is written there in blood. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (Jn. 6:37).